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This is a typical Colima piece, both in its subject matter (dogs were a favorite of Colima potters) and in its highly polished red clay finish. The human mask on this piece, however, marks it as a supernatural one. Notice the tail doubling as a spout for the vessel. The small black spots are chemical accretions caused by prolonged contact of the clay with the chemical-laden earth of the shaft tombs these pieces were buried in, presumably as companions for the revered dead.

Figurine of a dog wearing an anthropomorphic mask
West Mexico
Classic Period (200-800 A.D.)
State of Colima
Red clay
20.9 cm.
National Museum of Anthropology, Mexico.

Photo © Jorge Pérez de Lara